Liberia: One closer step to Normalcy
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Liberia: One closer step to Normalcy

On March 30, 2014  Liberia officially confirmed its first two cases of the Ebola virus disease. Soon afterward the country would be entrenched in fighting an epidemic that would ultimately infect 10666 Liberians leaving 4806 of them dead.  The plague spread so rapidly that the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, flew to West Africa for a first-hand viewpoint of the economic and social damage caused by Ebola.  On December 14, 2014, Dr. Kim stated "after more than 11 months into the crisis, thousands of people are dead and more than 17,000 have been infected. The virus kills quickly, spreads fear even faster, alters human relationships, devastates economies and threatens to cruelly extinguish hope in three fragile countries that were on the rebound after years of misery. No other modern epidemic has been so destructive so fast."

According the CDC, Liberia had endured the highest number of Ebola cases and deaths followed by Sierra Leone and Guinea.  Many monitoring programs that were established to prevent the arrival and spread of Ebola were largely ineffective. The world would witness several individuals unknowingly spreading EVD throughout the planet. 

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control in conjunction with several prominent researchers began to implement policies and procedures in a global attempt to halt the dissemination of the contagion.  According to WHO, the definition of "zero or no new Ebola cases" is established when a country hasn't had a confirmed case of Ebola for 42 days since the last case.  The last confirmed case has to have either died or test negative twice for the virus on blood samples.   Liberia's last confirmed case of Ebola was buried on  March 28, 2015.  On, May 9, WHO declared Liberia to be free of Ebola virus transmission!

After a country has met this criterion, they are ready to advance to the next phase. The travel advisory to Liberia was upgraded. The CDC is no longer recommending that US residents avoid nonessential travel to Liberia.  However, CDC recommends that US residents practice enhanced precautions when traveling to Liberia.  In addition, the WHO recommends that after the 42-day period(zero cases) has elapsed, each country should maintain a system of heightened surveillance for a further 90 days, and ensure ongoing EVD monitoring and notification thereafter. 

While the Cinderella story makes headlines in Liberia, the Ebola epidemic is far from over. CNN reported that last week there were 31 new cases of Ebola reported by the World Health Organization in Guinea and Sierra Leone.  Further acknowledging 14 additional cases this week!  An unnamed West African official believes that this is the second uninterrupted week that the number of Ebola cases in West Africa has increased.  Therefore, we must continue to support the countries and organizations that are fighting Ebola on the front lines.  For if they lose the battle in West Africa, the world may have to fight the Ebola Virus Disease in cities such as New York, London, Beijing, Moscow, or Dubai. 

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